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Lighting

The first generation case lighting is a pair of PC Mods cold cathode fluorescent tubes, the latest 105R model with a boxed inverter to prevent nasty electrical surprises. I had difficulty choosing between the red and blue variants, but I'm glad that in the end I settled on red - most red CC tubes tend towards pink rather than the pure colour, but these have a strong tint of orange as well and match very nicely with the orange LCD of the DigiDoc.

From the outside, the effect is delightfully subtle and mysterious - but hard to capture on camera. The Orb CPU coolers and the braided silver Akasa IDE cables catch the light wonderfully, but most of the rear of the case is shrouded in a rather spooky gloom... The first two lights are tucked into the verticals immediately behind the front of the chassis, and I'm intending to fit a second pair in the equivalent place at the rear to light the interior a little more evenly.

The glow leaks through the frame behind the Perspex front panel, too, giving a shimmering light around the drive bays, air intakes and LED light pipes - the effect moves constantly as the angle of view changes, which is an unexpected bonus. Kustom fitted high-intensity blue LEDs for the two front panel status lights, both of which are now wired as drive indicators, and the way the sharp bright blue cuts through the soft orange is really rather pleasing.

The warranty on the lights was violated almost immediately, as I rewired a little to drive both invertors from the same Molex power connector. The wiring for the lights is a touch rough and ready, at this stage, but I intend to install another pair when time permits and will tidy everything properly then. The second picture shows them under test before installation - the reflections behind the lights show how very shiny the interior of the case is.

 

Wiring

There are a lot of wires inside my PC, and pretty much every single one has been braided, split-loomed, or spiral-wrapped. It was certainly a lot of work, but I had realised immediately that the windows would be extremely unforgiving to the old bundle it up and clagg it into place with a cable-tie technique, and had already researched the best ways of neatening things up.

The braided sleeving certainly gives the best effect, I think, especially with heat-shrink tube to tidy and securing the ends. I wasn't so happy with the bare wires at the ends of the PSU cables, but split loom seemed the best thing for the job - spiral wrap conceals better at the ends, but is very stiff when tightly wound and can be awkward and angular to arrange inside the case.

The switch assemblies for the case lights, locked into a position that I hoped would enable me to mount them... somewhere. Plans have changed, now, and I intend to run a common power cable to a switch in the rear panel of the case, controlling all the lights in one. The second photograph shows the DigiDoc's fan connections - these are currently bundled up at the side of the power supply waiting to be tidied away when I've fitted the new tape drive. Below is the DigiDoc itself, fully braided. Doesn't it look organic!

I sourced the braiding from RS (search on "Expandable - Braided Sleeving"), hoping to match that already on the main power lines of the Enermax power supply, and it really adds a professional touch. It took me a while to find the knack of expanding it to slip over connectors and joints, and it was often unclear whether it would be easier to do that or to detach the connector from the cable completely! I couldn't face the prospect of wiggling the braiding over the lengthy and spiky drive power cables, so I compromised and settled for wrapping them in corrugated split loom tubing. I'm not especially pleased with the effect, but it's considerably better than the clashing red and yellow of the naked wiring.

More braided cables, this time some of the internal data loom, and finally a mugshot of the culprit - an impressive little heat gun sourced from Maplin during their recent sale, and without which I would not have been able to improve significantly on this -

A challenge for the cool courage of any bomb-disposal officer...